Blaine EdlefsenProfessor Emeritus of Oboe
Blaine Ellis Edlefsen was born August 24, 1930, in Soda Springs, Idaho, and was raised in Driggs, Idaho. He received his early musical training in voice from his mother, then played b-flat soprano saxophone, the alto saxophone, then clarinet in school bands. He entered Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 1948. After his freshman year, he started the oboe and became an oboe major, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and a minor in German in 1952. He entered the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, New York, in 1952, and was one of the original members of the Eastman Wind Ensemble which was founded then by conductor, Frederick Fennell. He received the Master of Music degree in Music Literature and Performance on the oboe in 1953. He studied oboe with Robert Sprenkle. He was an Instructor of Music at BYU from 1953-61. From 1953-59, he was with the Utah Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maurice Abravanel. During the 1956-59 seasons he played full time as solo English horn/second oboe, and assistant principal oboe.From 1959-61 Edlefsen again attended the Eastman School of Music earning the Performer's Certificate (1961) and the degree, Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Pedagogy of the Oboe (1966). His doctoral dissertation, "The Symbolization and Articulation of Oboe Tones," is devoted to the phonetics of oboe playing.
He became an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois School of Music 1961, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1994. During the summer of 1965 he held what is believed to have been the first oboe camp in the United States. His film, Making the American Scrape Oboe Reed, made in 1969 was the first to illustrate the art of oboe reed making. His published works include The Essences of Contemporary Oboe Fingering Technique, a two-volume pedagogical method, and the Student Instrumental Course for Oboe published in eleven volumes by Belwin-Mills. The Course includes method, excerpt, and etude books; and solos at each of the beginning, intermediate, and advanced-intermediate levels. Edlefsen was a founding member of the IDRS. At the first annual conference of the IDRS in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1972 he was Elected Treasurer of the Society, a position he held for the next two years. He participated in IDRS as a clinician, soloist, and member of screening committees for the Gillet Competition. He still has a class of young oboe students whom he teaches privately.
His hobbies include travel, italic hand writing, bridge, reading about exploration and primitive cultures; mnemonics and awareness; physical fitness including weight lifting and tai chi, in which he has a blue belt. Blaine and his wife, Jean, have five adult children and 6 grandchildren. They live in Champaign, IL.